I don't know about you, but I always end up doing the bulk of my charitable giving at the very last minute. The word "bulk" is a bit misleading: this year we'll give more than last, but we're still not up to where I want to be, due to job outages, a new roof and an impending new well.
I listened to advice on NPR on WMFE (radio 90.7) about how to choose a charity. They say to make sure the organization is highly rated and uses your money wisely. It was fine as far as it went, but I think they missed a vital tip--give your money to groups you know.
Local charities need your help. You think the big guys lost donors? Hah!
Here are a few locals I will give to, if I can:
Suncoast Basset Rescue (Foster Homes and Placement)
SpayNSave Seminole County FL (Low Cost Spay and Neuter)
Friends of the Wekiva River (Saving the Wekiva River Basin)
Ashton Biodiversity (Studying and Saving Gopher Tortoises and their Habitat)
WMFE (Public Radio and NPR)
I also like this online place for giving, even though they do cost a little. They rate everyone, and I can remember my choices easily from one year to the next:
Network for Good
Big Guys I Like with Good Ratings:
American Civil Liberties Union
EarthJustice (Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer)
World Wildlife Fund
Carter Center (Human Rights)